MEDIEVAL PORTRAIT
Ignacio Soncini Montrasi
TEAM: Dragones Atlánticos
COUNTRY: Argentina
 

I started this sport like everyone else: curiosity. Armors, swords, helmets? First time I went to Plaza Peralta Ramos in Mar del Plata, I thought it’d be full of rpg players, cardboard crafters, and maybe some crazy metal shapers. And here I am, two years later, and certainly I wasn’t wrong, but shortly. We aren’t rpg players, but we put on our armors because we dream with an era in which we weren’t born. We aren’t cardboard crafters, but we have learned how to make molds, figuring out the best ways to adapt the pieces to our sizes. And yes, we are crazy metal shapers, some of us certainly better than the others. It started as a game but it ended up being a reason to get fit again, and what started being a social misfit group is slowly becoming a team.

Two years of training gave me the opportunity to be a member of the national team and to represent our country in foreign lands. Imagine my reaction when I was finally told that I was going to Europe. Retrospectively I still find it hard to believe that all this happened to me. Suddenly, the day came and, after travelling all over Czech Republic, Istambul and Germany, I found myself putting on my helmet to walk through the list with Argentina’s surcoat.

A million thoughts pass through your mind in a few seconds. It’s hard to describe what you feel as a representative of your country, but it resumes to one question: ‘Will I be capable of doing it?’ I didn’t have much time to think about it, because as soon as I had put my helmet on, I was stepping on the list. And faster than we went in, we were walking out with our first victory. I remember that I raised my arms with excitement, because I couldn’t believe where we were and neither what we have done.

Unfortunately, in my case the emotion maybe was too much. I found myself lying on the ground. I tried to move or even get on my knees so they didn’t walk over me as they fought. I felt horrible, because they had knocked me down with one blow, just one blow. It wasn’t for the pain, it was a matter of personal pride. But my pride was worthless when I realized that I couldn’t move. From that point on, I have short fused memories. Not because I had lost my consciousness or faded out, but because I couldn’t understand what had just happened to me.

I didn’t understand why I couldn’t move my arms and legs, and neither did I know why all of that people were surrounding me. Suddenly, they were cutting my surcoat and my gambeson to get me on a stretcher. Even nowadays, when I speak to any buhurt acquaintance, they say: ‘It hurt so much when they cut your gambeson’. But it wasn’t the fact that they were breaking it off what hurt me but the trauma that caused me being taken away from the place where I had to be (obviously I still miss my gambeson). From the moment they put me in an ambulance I couldn’t help but feeling distressed. To me, Battle of the Nations ended as fast as it started. The doctors talked to me in a Czech English impossible to understand for an Argentine, so I told them I didn’t understand them, but I really didn’t want to hear them. I don’t think that anyone will find interesting my hospitalization process in Czech Republic so, summing it up, I was in Intensive Care using a cervical collar in a hospital where no one spoke English. Martina Ochoa stayed with me since the moment I was hit and she helped me with all the formalities. Lying in my bed, I told her to leave, since after taking my pills I would certainly fall asleep. And so I did. I didn’t have any more time to think, as from the two days I was there, I can barely remember four hours in which some of the members of our national team came to visit me and see how I was, and to inform me about the fight’s results. I have to admit that I felt an incredible relief when they told me that they finally won the fight in which I was hurt. It wouldn’t have helped my mood in any way if they had lost that fight.

After two days, with my legs and arms fully recovered and a broken vertebra, I left the hospital with Andy, Juan and Fede. Breathing fresh air outside the hospital was really refreshing after those days locked down. Two days later, we started our journey back to Argentina. Of course I am not telling every detail, as I don’t pretend to extend this story any longer and those details wouldn’t add anything important.

If you ask me right now what I had learn from this, I would answer exactly the same I used to say while playing rugby. This is a sport, and you can’t avoid misfortunes. What happened to me was not easy to deal with, neither emotionally nor physically. I still don’t know when I will be fighting again, if I ever do. But if there is something you definitely shouldn’t do in situations like this is getting stuck thinking about what happened.

Seeing the bright side, since we returned to Mar del Plata we realized that this world championship helped us growing up. Today there are more than fifteen people training at Dragones Atlánticos, focused on fighting better each day. (We even have our own club t-shirts!!) Not being able to train allowed me to help in many other ways, not the one I wanted but the ones that was needed.

I can’t do anything else than wait and let the time pass through, but there is something I am sure: I came to the medieval world to stay, either as a fighter or an spectator!

 


Photography: Pablo Kalhat.

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